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Welcome to Phase 2 of the easing the COVID-19 restrictions. Today, 8th June 2020 marks the second phase in the reopening of society and business in Ireland.
- Groups of up to 6 people can meet indoors/outdoors as long as 2 meter social distancing is maintained.
- Libraries will be permitted to reopen.
- Marts will reopen.
- Playgrounds can reopen from Monday, once supervised.
- The advice will be to still avoid unnecessary journeys wherever possible. Advice from Government is to stay local.
- You may travel within your own county of residence, and up to 20 kilometres from your home if crossing county boundaries.
- All shops can reopen from Monday, but will be required to operate on staggered hours and no earlier than 10.30am.
- Shopping Centres can reopen on June 15th, providing only the shops open and ensuring that people do not congregate.
- Easing of funeral restrictions. The numbers allowed to attend funerals is to be increased.
COVID-19 is still having a major impact on our country. By working together we have made progress – but the virus is still in Ireland.
As we reopen our country, it is vital that we all continue to observe the public health guidance. To stay safe, you need to limit where you go and limit the number of people you meet. Here are five things you should know for Phase 2:
- Stay Local: You may travel within your own county, and up to 20 kilometres from your home if crossing county boundaries.
- Meeting other people: You may meet up to 6 people from outside your household both indoors and outdoors for social gatherings. Organised outdoor exercise, sporting, cultural or social activities of up to 15 people may take place
- Shops: All retail is reopening. Shop locally, shop safely and support businesses in your community.
- Work from home: It is more important than ever to work from home where possible.
- Transport: Walk or cycle if you can. Only use public transport if you absolutely need to. Public transport capacity is limited because of social distancing requirements.
Controlling the spread of COVID-19 remains a priority for the Irish Government. Given the regional differences in instances of new cases of the virus, everyone is urged to stay local during this phase.
During Phase 2 you are allowed to travel within your own county or 20 kilometress from your home if you are crossing county boundaries to visit local venues or amenities such as parks, shops, allotments and so on, that have reopened as part of the government’s roadmap.
People who are extremely medically vulnerable and people over 70 need to be especially vigilant to protect themselves as they are at the highest risk of severe illness from COVID-19.
If you are cocooning, you should continue to follow the public health advice to stay at home as much as possible and to avoid physical contact with other people.
Meetings with other people should be outdoors where possible. If you go out, you may meet people in groups of up to 6. It is essential that you practice social distancing by staying 2 metres (6 feet) apart and avoid all physical contact. These measures are to protect you and your friends and family.
During this phase you will also be able to have people over to your house or visit them in theirs. It is advised that you have no more than 6 people visit you in your home and that visits should last for less than an hour.
It is recommended that you meet with the same group of people where possible to protect yourself from the virus. It is recommended that people visiting you or who you are visiting wear face coverings during visits.
You are asked to keep a daily log of people you meet for contact tracing purposes.
The only reasons you can leave your locality
Stay local in all circumstances, except in the following situations:
- to travel to and from work, if your work cannot be carried out from home
- to shop for essential food and household goods
- to attend medical appointments and collect medicines
- for vital family reasons, such as providing care to children, elderly or vulnerable people – but excluding social family visits
- to escape domestic violence
Groups of up to 6 people who are not from the same household can meet outdoors. This can include a family meeting an individual friend or neighbour, a group of individuals meeting outdoors, and three couples meeting outdoors.
Up to 6 people who are not from the same household may also visit another household indoors. These visits should be kept as short as possible and last no more than an hour.
Indoor visits should be in well ventilated rooms where possible and everyone should practice good hand hygiene by washing their hands or using hand sanitiser.
Social distancing should be maintained with all people keeping 2 metres apart.
Meetings should be within the county or 20 kilometres from the households of those involved, if it involves crossing county boundaries.
You are advised to limit the number of people you meet with. The more contact you have – the greater you risk getting and spreading the virus.
You are also asked to keep a daily log of people you meet for contact tracing purposes.
From 8 June, up to 25 people may attend a funeral and burial or cremation ceremony while observing social distancing rules.
Funerals have the potential to be higher risk occasions because of the expression of grief and the desire of mourners to give comfort to each other. In light of the sad occasion and all of the circumstances associated with a funeral service, it is recommended that mourners make a special effort to comply with strict social distancing guidance, especially maintaining 2 metres physical distance, hand and cough etiquette, as well as the wearing of face coverings.
Funeral Directors and officiators are asked to remind and encourage mourners to comply with public health guidance for the safety of all attending a funeral.
Any indoor events after a funeral must comply with the public health guidance applicable to indoor visits, that is limited to a maximum of 6 persons indoors.
Further advice and guidance on funeral services is available from the HSE here.
Cultural, social and sport measures
Outdoor public amenities and tourism sites such as parks, beaches, mountain walks, heritage and cultural sites are now open.
Public libraries will now be allowed to reopen with limited numbers and hand hygiene facilities on entry.
Social distancing measures must be implemented at all of these sites.
Groups of up to 15 people who are not from the same household can meet outdoors for organised activities such as sporting or other events.
People may practice sport or fitness activities in groups of up to 15 but they must practice social distancing, minimise contact, not share equipment and practice strict hygiene.
Activities involving children should involve no more than 12 children to allow for 3 supervisors to be present to oversee the activity and make sure that public health guidance is being followed.
While training of sports teams is allowed, the holding of matches is not.
Adults and children should keep to the same groups for these activities. This will help limit contacts should a member of the group become COVID-19 positive. A log should be kept of everyone involved in these activities for contact tracing purposes.
You should not travel beyond your county or 20 kilometres from where you live if crossing county boundaries to visit any of the above facilities.
Designated high performance training facilities may be reopened exclusively for use by designated elite athletes, where those facilities and athletes have been designated by the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport and or Sport Ireland.
Advice for those cocooning
On 8 June, Ireland will move into Phase 2 of the government’s Roadmap for Reopening Society and Business. As part of the easing of restrictions, the public health advice for those who have been cocooning has been updated. The Health Protection Surveillance Centre has updated their guidance, and this is available online to support those who are cocooning, their families and carers. It is not possible to eliminate all risk so everyone should exercise their own judgement regarding the extent to which the cocooning guidance applies to them.
The updated public health advice from 8 June is:
Stay local and protect yourself from infection by cocooning at home as much as possible
Up to 6 people may visit the home of those cocooning for a short period of time while maintaining strict social distancing, observation of hand hygiene practices, and where feasible in well ventilated spaces. Outdoor visits are encouraged where possible. This public health advice also applies for those cocooning when visiting other households.
As those who are cocooning begin to meet with increased numbers of people, they may wish to consider meeting with the same group of family or friends to reduce the risk of infection. An approach for those cocooning may be to identify a core small group of particular friends and family as regular visitors. The risk of spread of disease is higher when people meet changing groups of people.
Shopping and accessing services
It is best to go shopping during designated hours for those cocooning. Retail and other sectors are encouraged to designate specific retail hours for over 70s and extremely medically vulnerable who are at the highest risk of severe illness from COVID-19 infection.
The wearing of face coverings is recommended when visiting retail outlets, along with the public health advice to:
- stay at 2 metres distance from others
- wear a face covering when in shops
- wash your hands for 20 seconds when you return home
- practice good coughing etiquette
The public health advice remains in place: for people who have been cocooning it is still important to stay at home as much as possible. To limit the risk to your health, follow the public health advice on hand washing, face coverings, coughing and respiratory etiquette and stay at a 2 metre distance from other people when receiving visitors into your home or when going out and accessing services in your community.
The HPSC guidance for those who are cocooning has been updated and is available here.
Education and childcare measures
From 8 June there will be a phased full reopening of school buildings and facilities to allow preparations take place for the delivery of educational programmes and activities including the return of formal education.
Plans to provide in in-home supports by Special Needs Assistants, as well as respite supports, for vulnerable children with complex disability support needs will also be rolled out by the HSE and the Department of Education and Skills.
Children’s playgrounds in public parks and other public locations can be reopened under the supervision of Local Authorities. Regular cleaning and good hand hygiene should be carried out at these sites.
Other outdoor amenities for children such as zoos, pet farms, animal parks and activity parks can also reopen with limits on entry numbers and regular cleaning practices in place.
A phased introduction of visiting in nursing homes and residential care facilities in line with social distancing guidelines will start from 15 June.
Contact your nursing home or residential care facility for details ahead of making any visits.
You should not visit a nursing home or residential care facility if you have any symptoms of COVID-19 infection or are feeling unwell. You should not visit if you have been told you are COVID-19 contact.
If you have been in contact with a confirmed or suspected case of COVID-19 you should stay at home and not go to work.
Anyone who can work from home should continue to do so.
A phased return to work for outdoor workers began in Phase 1. During Phase 2 there will be a phased return to work for solitary workers and other workers who, due to nature of their work, can maintain a constant distance of 2 metres from other people.
Employers are advised to apply the Return to Work Safely Protocol. This has been designed to support employers and workers to put measures in place that will prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the workplace. Employers should also have a COVID-19 Response Plan in place.
Employers should put measures in place to reduce the number of workers interacting with each other onsite at work at any one time. These could include having a smaller number of workers return initially, shift work, and staggered hours.
Workplaces should be adequately prepared for the return of workers. Public health advice to limit the spread of COVID-19 (hand hygiene, good respiratory etiquette, social distancing, wearing of face coverings) should be communicated to all staff. Cleaning schedules, waste disposal arrangements, arrangements to encourage social distancing between workers and alternative arrangements where social distancing is not always possible should be implemented.
Employers are advised to proactively engage with official authorities as they reopen and to consult with public health authorities on ways to minimise the risk of a COVID-19 outbreak in the workplace.
All remaining retail outlets, other than contact personal services (e.g. hairdressers, barbers, beauty salons, piercing services etc.) are now allowed to reopen. All must implement social distancing arrangements in their premises to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission. All must also apply the Return to Work Safely Protocol.
Retailers are asked to designate specific shopping times for over 70s and medically vulnerable people.
Retailers must put measures in place in their stores to minimise the spread of infection among customers and staff.
These could include:
- protective screens and barriers
- operating new queueing approaches
- limiting the number of customers and staff per store at any one time
- providing cleaning stations
- increasing store cleaning and hygiene
- considering store layout to facilitate social distancing
- closing changing room facilities
- controlling the number of individuals that staff and customers interact with at any one time
- introducing frequent cleaning of customer touchpoints and providing hand sanitiser at entrance and exit points
- limiting customer handling of stock, for example, through different display methods, new signage or rotation of high-touch stock
- storing items that have been returned or handled extensively (footwear) in a separate room for 72 hours before displaying them on the shop floor
- removing seating areas (with exception of those for people with mobility/disability requirements)
- extending opening hours to reduce crowding
- implementing car park restrictions
Stores should be adequately prepared for the return of employees and customers. Public health advice to limit the spread of COVID-19 (hand hygiene, good respiratory etiquette, social distancing, wearing of face coverings) should be communicated to all staff. Cleaning schedules, waste disposal arrangements, arrangements to encourage social distancing between workers and alternative arrangements where social distancing is not always possible should be implemented.
Retailers are advised to proactively engage with official authorities as they reopen and to consult with public health authorities on ways to minimise the risk of a COVID-19 outbreak in their stores.
- all non-essential surgery, health procedures and other non-essential health services are postponed
- all visits to hospitals, residential healthcare centres, other residential settings or prisons are stopped with specific exemptions on compassionate grounds
- pharmacists are allowed by law to dispense medicines outside the dates spelled out in prescriptions according to their own professional judgement
Everyone is advised to stay local, that is within their county or 20 kilometres from home if crossing county boundaries, as much as possible. All non-essential travel, including travel overseas, should be avoided.
Anyone arriving to Ireland from overseas must complete a COVID-19 Passenger Locator Form. Further information and guidance is available here.
Travel restrictions are implemented as follows:
- there is a nationwide restriction on travel outside of your county or 20 kilometres from your home if crossing county boundaries, except for the reasons listed above
- travel to Ireland’s offshore islands is limited to residents of those islands
- local authorities have relaxed on-street parking laws to meet the travel needs of workers
- the arrival of personal non-national maritime leisure vessels is banned (with exceptions as ‘port in a storm’)
The measures above are reflected in the regulations under the Health (Preservation and Protection and Other Emergency Measures in the Public Interest) Act 2020 and will be enforced by the Garda Síochána.
It is recommenced that face coverings be worn in public places, such as shops, and on public transport You may meet up to six people from outside your household both indoors and outdoors for social gatherings. Organised outdoor exercise, sporting, cultural or social activities of up to 15 people may take place. If you are over 70 or medically vulnerable be extra vigilant. Up to 25 immediate family and close friends may attend funeral services.
Outdoor summer camps may operate for post-primary children.
Playgrounds and commercially-serviced outdoor amenities may reopen.
Economic Activity and Work
The Return to Work Safely Protocol is the operative guide for employers and employees. Working from home must continue wherever possible.
Marts may open where social distancing and hygiene can be maintained.
Retail, services and commercial activity
All retail outlets may open. Opening times and modes of operation may vary. Please co-operate with store staff and abide by systems put in place for your safety.
Cultural, sporting and social
Groups of up to 15, including trainers and coaches, may return to non-contact outdoor training activity (but not matches) while maintaining social distancing at all times.
Public Libraries will commence reopening.
Behind-closed-door horse and greyhound racing can commence.
Transport and Travel
Social distancing means that overall capacity remains extremely restricted. Use public transport only for essential journeys.
Wearing a face covering is recommended.
Avoid peak-time travel.
Walk or Cycle if possible.
All non-essential overseas travel to and from Ireland should be avoided.
Passengers arriving from overseas are expected to self-isolate for 14 days.
Advice for those over 70 or the medically vulnerable
If you are over 70 or medically vulnerable, please use your judgement to decide how best to apply the following health guidance:
- Stay at home as much as possible
- You may welcome small numbers of people to your home, but maintain social distancing
- For shopping, please use the times specially allotted by retailers
- If you are visiting someone who is over 70 or medically vulnerable, please be extra-vigilant
Further Roadmap Phases:
The roadmap sets out Ireland’s plan for lifting COVID-19 restrictions will now be in four phases:
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